/Service above self

Service above self

By Chad Ingram

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this year he hoped to see the vast majority of Canadians fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September, it seemed impossible to fathom.

If you recall, at the time, Canada was experiencing issues with its supply of vaccine, which seemed to be trickling into the country. I remember thinking it would likely be late this year, or even into the beginning of next year, by the time I received my second dose.

It turns out that Trudeau was probably not too far off the mark. Through the spring and summer, the speed at which vaccinations are being administered in Canada has increased dramatically. As of Monday, some 43 per cent of Canadian residents had received two doses of vaccine. In Ontario, more than 50 per cent of adults are now considered fully vaccinated against the virus, and registration for first and second shots has been opened up to those 12 and older.

While there have been some tensions and some finger-pointing between the federal and provincial levels of government throughout the pandemic, Canada’s success in vaccinating its population is the result of cooperation and coordination between federal, provincial and local governments and organizations. At the local level, this includes municipalities working with health units to provide venues for assessment centres and vaccination hubs. There are also the volunteers who’ve helped operate vaccination sites across the country, and that brings me to the members of Minden Rotary Club.

I received my second vaccine dose last week at the Minden Hills Community Centre. I’ve been in the community centre 200 times if I’ve been in it once, but I’ve never seen it look like it does right now. Translucent, zigzagging partitions forming the cubbies where inoculations are administered. Pylons, arrows made of tape, and volunteers with clipboards, masks and face shields helping guide residents through the process.

The Rotary Club has headed up the volunteer effort at the Minden clinic, and there, behind those masks and shields, familiar faces, the ones we’re accustomed to seeing at dinners and auctions, selling hot dogs on Canada Day, or collecting coins in charity tolls. The people who raise money for playground and hospital equipment, now helping us through what is hopefully the last stage of the pandemic. And they’ve been at it for months. They are the walking embodiment of the Rotary Club’s motto of service above self.

Among them, Lynda Litwin, Mickey Bonham, Sally Moore, the indefatigable Jeanne Anthon – what are you even made of, Jeanne?

The pandemic response may start at the highest levels of government, but it concludes with community volunteers on the ground. Huge thanks to everyone who’s volunteered at the Minden clinic for facilitating an efficient and effective process.